Sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes and now scratching at my back……sounds like your seasonal allergies, doesn’t it? At least all except the back scratching. Actually this very accurately describes some of the common symptoms associated with allergies in dogs and cats. In the previous posts we looked at the various causes, testing and evaluations required in assessing skin disease in pets. At long last we have the results of the allergy testing and your pet is allergic to many of the same things you are. What do you…move him to Arizona? Not exactly but how do we go about controlling the incessant scratching that our poor pet is suffering from? There are a variety of weapons in the arsenal that can be used many of which are ‘natural’ non medication related but rather focus on environmental correction. For example, if your dog is allergic to wool then it becomes essential to minimize his or her contact by eliminiating wool blankets or covering them with a hypoallergenic one. If the allergy testing indicates various types of pollen that triggered a response during the testing, then increased frequency of vacuuming or electronic air filters may be improve the symptoms. If your pet’s indicated allergies include tree pollen then laying for long periods outside during the fall when leaves are on the ground could worsen the response. If there are indications of dietary allergies, how do we correct that? This is the easy one once you have results of the allergy testing. You will be provided with a list of foods which are either devoid of the offending allergen or it is present in a very minute amount. By feeding any one of these “approved ” foods exclusively we can hope to avoid any sypmtoms that might be associated with food allergy.
Finally, assuming that it takes time for the symptons to dissipate once we have corrected your pet’s environment, what do we do to control the minor (or sometimes moderate) recurrence of symptoms that will most likely occur at some point. We’ll address that in the final post of this series on pet allerigies.